OAKLAND, Calif. -- An accomplice in a wild shootout in West Oakland two years ago that claimed the life of a mother who was an innocent bystander was sentenced today to five years' felony probation.
Dijon Ward, 23, had been slated to stand trial with many of the other defendants who were charged in connection with the shooting death of Chyemil Pierce, 30, in the 2800 block of Chestnut Street at about 4:45 p.m. on March 9, 2015, but in April he pleaded no contest to a felony count of being an accessory after the fact.
Prosecutors said Ward hid a gun that one of the suspects used in the shooting, in which dozens of shots were fired after two groups of women got into a fight.
Ward's plea agreement calls for his conviction to be reduced to a misdemeanor if he complies with all the terms of his probation.
Prosecutor Butch Ford said at the recent trial of four of the eight defendants in the case that Jerry Harbin, 32, escalated tensions in the fight between the two groups of women by pushing one of the female combatants, 38-year-old Joneria Reed, who is Ward's mother, to the ground.
Ford said Reed was angry that Harbin had pushed her down and called Ward and several other young men to ask them to come to the scene to back her up.
He said a shootout eventually ensued between Harbin and his associates from a West Oakland group known as "3rd World," which included Shelton McDaniels, 31, Alex Davis, 27, and Michael Stills, 23, and Ward and his associates from another West Oakland group known as "The Bottoms," which included Anthony Sims, 21, and Julian Ambrose, 18.
One of the dozens of bullets that were fired in the gunfight struck Pierce in the right side of the back of her head and killed her, Ford said.
Pierce, who worked as a human resources specialist at Kaiser Permanente, wasn't involved in the argument and fight but had come to the area to bring two of her three children back to the home in the neighborhood where her family had lived for nearly 50 years, Ford said.
Late last week, after four days of deliberations, jurors convicted Sims, Davis and Stills of second-degree murder but said they were still deadlocked over Harbin's fate.
On Monday, when jurors were to resume their deliberations, Harbin pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Sims and Davis face terms of 40 years to life because they were convicted of causing Pierce's death by discharging firearms but Stills faces a lesser term of 16 years to life because he wasn't accused of firing a gun in the shooting.
Harbin's plea agreement calls for him to receive a 13-year state
Reed had been scheduled to stand trial with Harbin, Davis, Stills
and Sims but she pleaded no contest in April to second-degree murder for her role in the case and testified against them.
Reed's plea agreement calls for her second-degree murder
conviction to be reduced to voluntary manslaughter and for her to be sentenced to six years in custody if a judge determines that her testimony in the case was truthful.
It's expected that McDaniels and Ambrose will stand trial later this year.